Department of State GrowthTransport

Light Trailers

This bulletin is a guideline only. At all times the appropriate legislation currently in force takes precedence.

What is a light trailer?

A light trailer is a trailer with an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) less than 4500 kg. This includes horse floats and caravans.

The ATM is the total mass of the trailer when carrying the maximum load specified by the manufacturer. It is assessed by the manufacturer and is the lesser of the following:-

  1. Coupling rating.
  2. Spring rating.
  3. Tyre load rating.

When must a light trailer be inspected?

Your light trailer must be inspected if one or more of these circumstances apply:-

  • its Tasmanian registration has been expired for 3 months or more;
  • it is registered in another state and you want to register it in Tasmania;
  • a Departmental Call In notice has been issued against it;
  • a Defect Notice has been issued against it which requires it to be inspected; or
  • you are applying for it to be registered for the first time in Australia.

Below is a list of items a Vehicle Examiner would check when inspecting your trailer. Use this guide as a checklist and tick the boxes as you go.

Electrical check
All globes, lenses, reflectors and controls must be in working order and work effectively. Faded lenses reduce effectiveness.

Number plate light
Must be in working order and capable of illuminating the number plate.

Number plate
The plate must face outwards from the rear of the trailer, in an upright position, parallel to the vehicle axle/s and be legible from a distance of 20 metres.

Side marking lights
Option 1 (for trailers that exceed 2200 mm in width and/or 7500 mm long only)

Trailers must have one lamp fitted either 0side within 300mm from rear of vehicle, in middle if over 7500mm long. The light must show an orange light to the front and a red light to the rear.

Option 2 (for trailers that exceed 6000mm in length)

Trailers must have one light either side within 1000mm from the rear and either side within 3000mm from the front of the trailer. The side marker light other than the rear light must show amber only and the rear light amber to the front and red to the rear.

Note: Side marker lights cannot be spaced more than 3000 mm apart. Additional lights must be fitted if this is the case.

All reflectors must be non-triangular in shape.

Trailers must be fitted with:

  • two red reflectors at the rear;
  • two white reflectors at the front of the trailer; and
  • orange reflectors on both sides of the trailer.

Check for worn or damaged tyres. Tyres must have at least 1.5 mm of tread depth, in a continuous band across the tread surface around the tyre. The tread pattern must be the original pattern – that is, the tyre must not have been re-grooved.

Tyres must not have any deep cuts, bulges or exposed cords. They must have the appropriate speed and load rating for the vehicle use and must not be mismatched.

Inside and Outside of Road Wheels
Rims and hubs must not be cracked or have any missing or buckled pieces, including broken or missing wheel studs or nuts.

Wheel bearings
Wheel bearings must be adjusted correctly, not rough, noisy or loose on the stub axle. They must rotate freely and not be leaking grease.

Brake requirements
Trailers manufactured prior to 1 July 1988 only require brakes that automatically apply and hold on when detached from towing vehicle where the Gross trailer Mass (GTM) is greater than 2000 kg.

All trailers manufactured since 1 July 1988 with a GTM greater than 750kg require brakes.

Trailers with a GTM between 750 kg and 2000 kg require brakes on one axle only.

Trailers with a GTM greater than 2000 kg require brakes on all axles including the trailer break away.

Brake Components
All braking components must be mounted securely and must be in working order.

Hydraulic Brakes
All brake components must be free of any fluid leaks. Generally a low fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir indicates a fluid leak within the system.

Body Panels, Chassis, Frame
Exterior body work and fittings must not have any sharp edges caused by rusted panels, body damage or protrusions that could injure someone who comes into contact with the trailer. Bodywork must be securely mounted to the frame or chassis to prevent on road accidents.

Mudguards must be fitted to all wheels and must cover the full width of the tyre. The lower edge of any mudguard (including mud flap) must be no higher than 230 mm above the ground (parked on level ground). Mudguards on off road trailers may be up to 300mm of the ground.

All components must be intact and free from cracks, breakage and excessive corrosion. Components must be aligned correctly. Heating or welding must not have been used for any repairs or modifications.

All components must be secure and must display a gross mass rating. Any distorted, cracked or severely corroded parts must be replaced. All removable parts must have a locking device. Locking type must be positive, and have a provision for a secondary, independent locking device.

Safety Chain
The chain must be permanently attached to the draw bar and meet minimum diameter requirements. All trailers manufactured after 1 July 1991 must be fitted with an Australian Standard 4177 safety chain. When the trailer is being towed, the chain must not drag along the ground.

Doors, Gates, Flap
Any gate, door or flap must be able to be closed securely

Any repairs to the trailer must retain the original strength of component/section.

New Trailers

The following information applies to new trailers/caravans/horse floats (first time registered anywhere in Australia).

Compliance plate
All trailers manufactured after 1 January 1989 must be issued with a compliance plate, either by the manufacturer the AIS or Service Tasmania. The plate can be affixed with pop rivets or hammer drive screws. Affixing plates with adhesives is not acceptable.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
All trailers manufactured since 1 January 1989 must have a 17 digit VIN. This is stamped or engraved on the compliance plate and must also be stamped into a prominent non removable part of the trailer.

Chassis number
All trailers manufactured before 1 January 1989 must have a chassis number, generally less than 17 digits, stamped into a prominent non removable part of the trailer.

Assessment of Unladen Mass
Unladen mass is the total weight of the trailer when not carrying a load.

If your trailer is either a tandem or tri axle, you must have it weighed at a weigh bridge before taking it to an AIS for inspection. For the location of your nearest weigh bridge, please visit:

Caravans only

Fire Extinguisher
A caravan must have a fire extinguisher that is easily accessible in an emergency, securely mounted in a suitable location. The extinguisher must be filled and charged.

A caravan must have permanently affixed sleeping positions readily available within the caravan

If LPG is fitted in the caravan, the caravan must have a gas installation compliance certificate.